Asian Studies: Ota Yôko’s “Fireflies”

Subject: Literature
Pages: 2
Words: 309
Reading time:
< 1 min

Fireflies, as written by Ota Yoko is about the events of the second world war. In the story, the destruction that comes with the dropping of bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima is captured as well as the outcome of other actions related to the war. This story has well pronounced historical and cultural elements about Japan. Historically, the events surrounding the Second World War were distasteful for the Japanese people. The atomic bombs dropped at the two points already identified above led to the destruction of property worth billions of dollars as well as the deaths of many people. This is clearly captured in the story through the ruins that are evident after the bombs are dropped. Japan has not experienced such a devastating manmade disaster again but it is not easy to forget it.

The story also gives us a view of where Japan as a country has come from as well as why it relates with other countries the way it does. For example, the historically close relationship that Japan has with the United States can be explained through the need to reach out after the devastation given that the bombs were dropped by the United States. This is important in enabling us to understand the history of Japan as a country. In terms of culture, the resilience of the Japanese people even in the wake of the destruction caused by the atomic bombs is well captured in the story. The fireflies that are visible even after the destruction are symbolically used to show the ever-present light and determination even in the face of adversity. There is no doubt that the recovery process following the attacks was driven by this high level of determination. This is a crucial cultural attribute of the Japanese people.